[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Buchanan 10-4-1971 by L.L. No. 1-1971 (Ch. 8 of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Village of Buchanan, New York, Dangerous Buildings and Structures Local Law."
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The duly appointed Building Inspector of the Village of Buchanan.
- DANGEROUS BUILDING
- Any building or structure which has any or all of the following conditions:
- (1) Those where any interior wall or walls, or other structural load-bearing members, list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line, passing from any overhead supporting member through the center of gravity, falls outside the middle third of its base.
- (2) Those which, exclusive of the foundations, show 33 1/3% or more of deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% or more damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or exterior walls or covering.
- (3) Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs, or in which the floors or roofs are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used, and which do not meet minimum standards prescribed by the New York State Building Construction Code.
- (4) Those having inadequate or insufficient facilities for ingress or egress in the event of fire, panic or other emergency; or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes, aisles, passageways, corridors or other means of access; and which do not meet minimum standards prescribed by the New York State Building Construction Code.
- (5) Those which have parts thereof which are so attached or connected in such a manner that they may fall, collapse or cause damage and injury to the occupants thereof or other persons or property.
- (6) In addition to the foregoing, those which, in whole or in part, are used for residential, mercantile, industrial, storage, assembly, institutional or any other purpose and, for want of repair, lack of sufficient fire escapes or exits or by reason of age or dilapidated condition or from any other cause, may be or shall at any time hereafter become dangerous or unsafe structurally or a fire hazard or a nuisance to the general public.
- (7) A vacant building, unguarded or open at the door or window.
- The Mayor of the Village of Buchanan, New York.
- Whatever is dangerous to human life or detrimental to health, and shall include but not be limited to:
- (1) A public nuisance.
- (2) A building, structure or part thereof which has an existing electrical wiring system which is defective or which fails to meet ventilation requirements as prescribed by applicable provisions of law; or which has plumbing, sewage or drainage facilities that are not in conformity with applicable building and plumbing codes; or which is overcrowded.
- Includes the record owner of any premises and also for the purpose of serving a notice either personally or by registered mail, or by publication, upon anyone exercising the rights of ownership therein, his agents, successors or assigns, as indicated by the records of the receiver of taxes or by the records of the County Clerk of Westchester County.
- The fastening, nailing, tacking or substantially securing by any other means of any notice, survey, order, directive or official decision on a building or structure.
- Includes any alteration, structural change or the performance of any act necessary or requisite for the elimination of any hazardous, dangerous or unsafe condition of any dangerous building or structure within the purview of this chapter.
- A written determination in a report, after an on-site inspection by the Building Inspector, in conjunction with a registered architect or licensed professional engineer, chosen or appointed by the Village Board, and a practical builder, engineer or architect appointed by the owner of the subject premises, to be made after refusal or neglect of the owner who has been served with a notice to make safe, repair or demolish and remove the dangerous building or structure.
- The Village of Buchanan.
The words "or" and "and" as used herein may be construed interchangeably where such meaning is necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter.
Where necessary, the singular shall include the plural and the plural include the singular.
The word "person" shall include a partnership, corporation, association or trustee.
The words "persons interested" as used herein shall be construed to include the owner as herein defined and all other persons interested in the property to which such words refer.
The fact that a building or structure exists in violation of the applicable provisions of the State Building Construction Code or of the Village Building Code or the State Standard Building Code for places of public assembly or the statewide Multiple Residence Law, as the case may be, or of any chapter or ordinance of the Village of Buchanan, may be considered in determining whether a building or structure is hazardous, dangerous or unsafe.
Upon the receipt of information that a building or structure may be dangerous, the Building Inspector shall cause an investigation of the premises to be made, and an inspection report shall be submitted and filed in the office of the Village Clerk.
After the report is filed, and if the report shall confirm the existence of a dangerous building or structure, the Building Inspector shall cause a notice to be served upon the owner of the unsafe building, either personally or by registered mail, containing specifications as set forth in § 63-5.
If the owner of the unsafe building cannot be located with due diligence so that the notice cannot be served personally, or the registered letter is undeliverable, then the Village Board shall authorize publication of said notice in two newspapers, at least one in the English language, such as are most likely to give notice to the person to be served, at least once in each of four successive weeks. The notice shall be directed to the owner and shall contain the specifications set forth in § 63-5 and shall include a statement to the effect that the failure of the owner to comply with § 63-6 of this chapter within 10 days following the last day of the publication of the notice shall constitute a rejection of the notice. The notice shall also state that, in accordance with the procedural requirements of this chapter, an application will be made to the Supreme Court for an order determining the building or structure to be a public nuisance, directing either that it shall be repaired and secured or that it shall be taken down or removed, and that certain costs, as allowed by this chapter, may be assessed against the land on which said buildings or structures are located.
If, within 10 days after the last day of publication of the notice, the owner complies with § 63-6, then thereafter the Village shall proceed as if such owner were served with a notice personally or by registered mail.
The notice shall contain a description of the dangerous building or structure with particulars which set forth the manner in which the building or structure is dangerous, and the notice shall also outline the manner in which the building or structure is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed. The notice shall contain an order requiring the dangerous building or structure to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed; and if the service of the notice is made by registered mail, a copy of the notice shall be posted on the premises.
Within 10 days of the receipt of the notice set forth above, the person who receives the notice may certify his written acceptance or rejection of the particulars and order contained in the notice, either by personal service or by registered mail, upon the Building Inspector. Any failure on the part of the person receiving the notice to respond, as herein prescribed, shall constitute a rejection of the notice.
If the person served with the notice shall, within 24 hours thereof, certify his assent to the securing or demolition and removal of the dangerous building or structure in question, he shall be permitted 72 hours within which to commence the abatement of the dangerous conditions affecting the building or structure and shall employ sufficient labor and assistance to secure or demolish and remove such building or structure within a reasonable period of time thereafter.
Any person affected by the notice described in § 63-5 of this chapter may request and shall thereupon be granted a hearing on the matter before the Village Board, provided that such person shall file a verified petition with the office of the Village Clerk within 10 days after the day the notice was served upon the petitioner. The petition shall request the hearing and set forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor. The Building Inspector shall set a time and place for a hearing and shall give the petitioner 10 days' written notice thereof. At the hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to give reasons why the proceedings for securing or removal of the dangerous building or structure shall be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 20 days after the day on which the petition was filed; provided that, upon application of any interested party, the Building Inspector may postpone the date of the hearing for any reasonable time beyond the twenty-day period if, in his judgment, the interested party has submitted a good and sufficient reason for the postponement, but in no event shall the hearing be postponed longer than 60 days. In any case, if no such written petition shall be so filed within the ten-day period, as aforesaid, or if the notice shall be rejected, the Village may proceed as hereinafter provided.
Upon refusal, neglect or failure of the person or persons served with notice and order to comply with the requirements and specifications therein, or upon his or their rejection of such notice, a notice of survey shall be served upon him by the Building Inspector, either in person or by registered mail, giving notice that a survey of the premises described in the notice will be made at a time and place therein specified.
The notice of survey shall state the date, time and place where the survey will be made and that, in the event that the report of such survey indicates that such building or structure is dangerous, an application will be made at a special term of the Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District, for an order determining the building or other structure to be a public nuisance and directing that it shall be repaired and secured or taken down and removed.
The survey shall be made by three competent persons, of whom one shall be the Building Inspector, another shall be a registered architect or a licensed professional engineer appointed by the Village Board, and the third shall be a practical builder, registered architect or licensed professional engineer appointed by the person served with the notice.
Within a reasonable time after the survey is completed, the determination thereof shall be made by such persons in writing and filed in the office of the Village Clerk; a copy thereof shall be posted on the subject building or structure.
All notices posted pursuant to any provision of this chapter are to remain on the building or structure until it is repaired, demolished or removed or made to comply with the directions which have been given the owner.
In the event that the person served with the notice of survey described in this section shall fail, neglect or refuse to appoint a competent person to assist in the survey, the other two persons designated pursuant to the provisions of Subsection A shall make the survey, and should they disagree, they shall appoint a third person, whose decision shall be final, to take part in the survey, who shall be either a practical builder, licensed professional engineer or registered architect, either one having at least 10 years' practice in his respective profession.
Any architect or engineer appointed by the Village Board, as provided in § 63-10A or 63-10D hereof, shall be entitled to such reasonable compensation for such services as shall be determined and fixed by the Village Board, and such amount shall be paid upon the voucher of the Building Inspector. A cause of action is hereby created for the benefit of the Village against the owner of the dangerous building or structure surveyed, and of the lot or parcel of land on which the dangerous building or structure is located, for the amount disbursed by the Village for such survey, with interest from the date of payment by the Village.
Whenever such survey shall determine that the building or structure is dangerous, the Village may apply to the Supreme Court, at special term, for an order determining the building or structure to be a public nuisance and directing either that it shall be repaired and secured or that it shall be taken down or removed.
Upon receipt of the order of the Supreme Court, the Building Inspector shall immediately proceed to execute the provisions therein contained and may employ and furnish whatever labor, assistance and materials may be necessary for that purpose.
It shall be unlawful for any person, whether interested or not in the property affected by this chapter, to interfere with, obstruct or hinder the Building Inspector or his representative, or any person acting in his behalf, in performing the work directed by the determination of the Supreme Court, as herein provided, or ordered by the Building Inspector under the terms and provisions of such determination as hereinabove described.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this section shall be guilty of an offense against this chapter punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The owner shall be obligated to reimburse the Village for all costs and expense incurred by the Village, including the compensation of surveyors, in connection with the proceedings to remove or secure, including the cost of actually removing said building or structure. The Village may assess said costs and expenses against the land on which said buildings or structures are located in the same manner as is provided for the assessment of the cost of public improvements by the Village Law or other laws of the State of New York applicable to assessments.
Any provision of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, where it reasonably appears that there is imminent danger to the life or safety of any person unless a dangerous building or structure, as defined herein, is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Building Inspector shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building or structure. For this purpose, he may at once enter such structure or land on which it stands, or abutting land or structure, with such assistance and at such cost as may be necessary. He may vacate adjacent structures and protect the public by appropriate barricades or such other means as may be necessary and for this purpose may close a public or private way. The cost of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building or structure shall be collected in the same manner as provided in § 63-14 hereof.
Any person removing the notice provided for in § 63-10 hereof, or any other notice prescribed by this chapter, shall be guilty of an offense against this chapter punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.